Philadelphia Dancesport Championships 2019

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Philadelphia Shows Us Love!

As usual we made our pilgrimage to Philadelphia and to the Philadelphia Dancesport Championships.

And we have to say that this is usually a fun event to attend, however, we have to really tip our hat to Mr. Chuck Danza because this year he really extended the royal carper to all, with hospitality, fun parties and gatherings every day and night and just about anything you would want to be super comfortable at an event you’re dancing in. The Philadelphia Championships had it all.

We could spend most of our blog talking about the fun and pampering going on outside the ballroom but we think that, perhaps this is something you need to experience and not just talk about. So, put it down in your 2020 calendar now. Before we speak of the excellent dance competitions that happened last night, we want to say thank you Chuck for your excellent hospitality given to us the officials and best of all to all your guests and attendees.

Now to the dancing, we have to say that last night’s events were excellent in quality as well as attendance with nearly every professional event having a full semifinal round.

The Professional Exhibition took place towards the end of the evening session and although we were all a little tired by them, this excellent competition made us all be quite awake. Travis & Jaimee Tuft won the event almost with perfect scores from the judges only two judges awarded them a second place and they were Inna Dyachenko and Igor Litvinov. We have to say that we would probably also would have giving them a first because the routine had everything needed, wonderful lift work, a story and good delivery. Second went to Mykhailo Azarov & Tetyana Makarenko and they did a regional compilation with slapping of the legs as well as what one would consider Eastern European folk music. We have to say that we still find it a little hard to understand this type of number, although in most places it goes down well with the audience. When it came to the routine they certainly did some well executed moves, however, for us this was perhaps the right placement for this routine, especially when we are lost on the region folk theme.

A routine that I can honestly say, had they not had fault, could have won easily and surpassed the rest placed third - Jamie Black & Samantha Elliott. Unfortunately, in the middle of these wonderful, interesting lifts one after the other, they overshot a lift and she nearly went over his head tumbling down. Jaimie did manage to control the situation somewhat, but once again nearly fell because there was not enough space between him and the stage. In the end he sat on the stage steadied his Samantha and got the situation back in control, a little too late for the judges who now had to fault them for this tremendous mishap. Fourth went to Nikita Zhukovskyi & Angelina who did some kind of cabaret routine with all kinds of lifts, we have to say that for us comparing it to the other three routines, this program had no rhyme or reason, just lifts to music in a well sorted costume.

The Professional Smooth for us was perhaps one of the most interesting Championships of the night and here once again Travis & Jaimee Tuft won all dances, taking perfect scores in the waltz, foxtrot, and Viennese Waltz, and nearly perfect scores in the tango, just missing it by one mark and that was Mr. Terry Sweeney who awarded them a second place in this dance. The Professional Rising Star winners from the previous, Vitalii Kaliuzhnyi & Talia Barrington, night took second overall 2,2,2,3, we still don’t quite understand the appeal of this couple to the majority of the judges, on both occasions during the Rising Stars and professional competition we found them to basically have some Ballroom style steps some uninspiring open maneuvers. Yes, they are a beautiful couple and as clean cut and pleasant to the eye as you can be, but still lack some of the qualities and interesting development of a more mature couple. We have to point out that only a handfull of judges shared our opinion - Mr. Didio Barrera who awarded them 6th in three dances and fifth in the Viennese Waltz, Mr. Paul Holmes who awarded them 2,5,2,4, and Diana McDonald who awarded them 5,3,3,3, the rest of the group of judges did not award them less than 3rd place marks.

Third overall in this excellent Smooth final were Michael Choi & Viktoriya Kleyman 3,3,3,2. We really like this partnership, in fact we thought they could have easily placed second. Their work is interesting soft and in all the dances very well executed throughout in this final. Another couple we are pleased to see get great recognition are Pavel Lebedev & Dinara Kharyrulina from Canada who placed fourth overall 4,5,5,4, and who gave an excellent performance. We are also happy to see Canada have such great representation in this field and it is encouraging to know that they have come such a long way in their Smooth dancing.

Fifth place was awarded to Sergei Shapoval & Mila Popovich, 6,4,4,5, here is another great partnership in the making, they are fresh looking and very promising to the style with good basic background and great understanding of what Smooth dancing is. Sixth place was awarded to Vladimir Popov & Erin Marie, 5,6,6,6. This is one of our favorite couples with some very interesting moves and a very unique approach to this style. However, I think they need to pay closer attention to make sure everything does not end up looking the same, and their foxtrot and Viennese Waltz need to be perfectly executed. In this style nowadays there is little room for missteps or bad days.

The Rhythm was another well attended heat and here there was an easy win for Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin with perfect scores in all dances from all judges. We have to agree with this judgment even though we have to say it was not the most thrilling performance we have seen form Dmitry & Olena. Thrilling or not, the couples bellow could not come close to them on this night. Ilya Abdullin & Anastasia, although very promising, still have a bunch of issues to iron out before, in our opinion, they could be considered for top placement. The look and talent in both Ilya & Anastasi are there but not enough time in our opinion for it to be solid material. We actually cannot understand why Kristian Sese & Mae Lozada did not place second, their material was solid with well executed maneuvers. In looking at their marks we noticed that they did get a handful of second places, especially in the rumba, bolero, and mambo, but not enough to steal the second placement from Ilya & Anastasia.

Andrei Gavrilov & Mengqi Huang took fourth overall 4,4,4,5,4; fifth went to Vuk Stefanovic & Larisa Mikryukova 5,5,5,4,5 and sixth was awarded to Mykhailo Azarov & Tetyana Makarenko who took all sixths.

To all the Rhythm couples that enter and did not enter this event - when both your feet leave the floor and you’re being assisted by your partner to do this, this is called a “Lift!” And to them all we can say is - please leave this at home or better put them in your showdance, cabaret or exhibition routine they go really well there but in a group competition you could face some kind of penalty for it and it is not worth it.

The Professional Ballroom was the only group professional competition of the night where a semifinal was not called and here we had a seven couple final. The winners of all dances with a majority of firsts were Adrii Mykhailov & Anna Bohachova, and they we can honestly say they looked quite comfortable in this position last night. Second in all dances was awarded to Andrey Begunov & Anna Demidova. We were quite impressed with Andrey & Anna’s performance last night. I think physically they could have easily taken it away from the winners but it is not all about the physical at this level and they were so focused on their physical perfection that they forgot their soul, they need to dance from the heart now and let us feel the music we are hearing. In a surprising development and one we have been expecting for a while Sergey Izyumov & Oksana Zaver took third overall 4,3,3,3,6; fourth went to Mechyslav Pavlyuk & Gemma Arnold 3,5,4,4,3. Artem Belmeha & Anna Shevchenko placed fifth 5,4,5,5,5, we have not been fans of this couple’s dancing but we have to say that last night’s performance was great and we would not have been surprised had they been place higher up in the final. Sixth was awarded to Riccardo Conde & Eleonora Filippi 6,6,6,6,4, and seventh in all dances went to Mykhailo Anufriiev & Anna Vietrynska.

The Professional Latin for us was possibly the disappointment of the night with very mediocre performances overall, and here Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova took first in all dances. Nikita Malkhov & Nadezda Vlasova took all seconds; third went to Alexandr Nabiullin & Valeriya Ryabova with all thirds. Fourth in all were Dmitry Barov & Joanna Meller; fifth overall was awarded to Kirill Netsvetaev & Aleksandra Antonenko 5,5,6,5,5, and sixth were Malachi Osai & Freda Chan 6,6,5,6,6.

And to complete this excellent parade of professional dancing the winners of all divisions contested a challenge of champion. In second and in first place were Travis & Jaimee Tuft. Who won on the Smooth routine, and placed second with their exhibition routine. Third was awarded to a terrific routine that had so much rhythm changes even when it was a cha cha from Artur Tarnavskyy & Anastasia Danilova. Fourth went to Dmitry & Olena Nikishkin, and fifth were Andrii Mykhailov & Anna Bohachova.

To conclude we want to congratulate Mr. Chuck Danza in making the Philadelphia Dancesport Championships a terrific affair and we want to leave you with a W.C. Fields quote: “Here lies W.C. Fields. I would rather be living in Philadelphia.”

Rising Stars at Philly!

Last night at the Philadelphia Dancesport Championships we saw all four styles in the professional field compete for the Rising Star titles.

But although the competitions were excellent one of the best competitions of the night was the Amateur Latin where some terrific dancing occurred.

In the Amateur Latin we had a complete semifinal round filled with great talent. In the end six very capable couples were called for the final and the winners on every dance were Pasha Stepanchuck & Gabrielle Sabler. We have to say that Pasha & Gabriella might not have been the most exciting to watch on this night, but in their defense they did not have to be; their work on its own, even if they walked through some, was clear and good enough to win every dance in our opinion and as you can see from the judges’ point of view as well.

The most exiting couple for us last night was Tagir Mansurov & Alexandra Kondrushova placing second in all dances. We have to say that of all the ladies in this final, we really liked Alexandra. She is not overdone with her makeup or costumes and she was very responsive to Tagir who last night we saw shine, unlike we have seen in a very long time. Third overall but not in every dance was awarded to Andrew Nikitchenko & Yuliya Lisovska with these marks 3,3,4,3,4. We were very intrigued with this couple’s performance, their work itself we must say was very interesting and well deserving to be in this final and in this position. However, we found their work perhaps slightly untidy compared to the two couples just mentioned and in a few dances we found Yuliya to look heavy on her feet and not in a good way. We hope that with more work and rehearsal they get their act together because they for sure could be a challenge to the two mentioned above.

We have to agree with the judges that from fourth place down things were not as clear. Fourth place was awarded to Artem Zhychuk & Natasha Shevchenko, but look at these marks they are as many would say all over the place 6,4,3,4,5. From looking at this we can agree with the judges that yes, they were all over the place; depending upon when you were looking at them it was ether great or mediocre. More consistency in the work is needed for this couple to move on forward and challenge the three above them.

Fifth went to Max Firestein & Nicole Renne 4,6,6,5,3. This couple have amazing energy on the floor the only problem is that at times the work can look a little discombobulated, but this is not a bad thing, this young couple are full of talent and we could see in the very near feature them challenging the very top on the field. In sixth place and a little disappointed for us and we are sure for them were Sandu Babira & Alise Dombrovsky, from Canada 5,5,5,6,6. We said disappointing for us because we are usually great fans of this couple’s dancing but on last night’s performance they were unnoticed, hard to find and very quiet, their worst performance we have seen in along time.

In the Professional Rising Star Competitions the Smooth was excellent with a full semifinal round and in the end the winners were Vitalii Kaliuzhnyi & Talia Barrington 3,1,1,1; second was awarded to Evgenii Rozenfeld & Maria Shumakher 2,3,2,2, and third were Pavel Lebedev & Dinara Khayrulina 1,2,3,3. In the Rising Star Rhythm Aleksei Shipilov & Julia Mitina took first in all dances; second was awarded to Vuk Stefanovic & Larisa Mikryukova and they took second in all dances leaving third in all dances to Andrei Gavrilov & Mengqi Huang.

In the Professional International Rising Stars the winners in the Latin were Aleksei Shipilov & Julia Mitina and like in the Rhythm they took first in every dance. Second in all dances was awarded to Dmitry Barov & Joanna Meller and third overall went to Stanislav Savich & Nicole Prosser with these marks 3,3,4,3,3. In the Rising Star Ballroom Aleksei & Elena Minaev placed first overall 1,2,1,1,2; second overall was awarded to Riccardo Conte & Eleonora Filippi 2,1,2,2,1, and third went to Mykhailo Anufriiev & Anna Vietrynska and they took third in every dance.

Tonight there will be all the professional open events and we will have all for you here tomorrow .

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